May 15 AT 7:23 AM Christopher Earle 10 Comments

Two Months of Use: A Retrospective Review of the T-Mobile G1

Deciding to switch from BlackBerry to the Android based G1 was not an easy decision. The reliability of the BlackBerry network, the familiar BlackBerry interface, and the library of apps that I’d come to rely on were all things that kept me from making a quick decision on the G1. After two months of use, I am a convert.

Here is a confession: I am a smart phone addict. My job as a writer requires me to be in constant contact with a large group of people. Being out of contact for more than a half a day is simply not an option. The G1 has performed beautifully. By setting up my Gmail account to poll other email accounts, I get email messages very shortly after they were sent. The G1′s email interface and full keyboard(I was a Pearl user) are superb.

As a writer, research is a big part of my job. Android’s browser simply works. With the exception of Flash based sites, the browser is fast and very functional. Researching on the train or on a park bench is now a reality. T-Mobile’s 3G network is faster than AT&T and side by side tests with iPhones consistently favor the G1. With the improvements to the browser in Cupcake, I believe that the G1 is simply one of the best hand-held web browsing solutions available.

For people who enjoy customizing the look of their phone, the available after market home screen replacements are incredible. The themes available for aHome, dxTop, and Open Home are fantastic. With the addition of downloadable font and icon packs, the possibilities are endless.

The Open Source nature of the G1 also is appealing. I run a rooted G1 with Jesusfreke’s Android 1.5. This won’t appeal to everyone, but the ability to control the OS version is very appealing to me. By rooting my phone and moving various caches to the SD card, I’ve not only improved the overall performance of the phone, I’ve opened up more space for apps.

Now for the bad. The Android Market isn’t as complete as the marketplace for the iPhone. I’ve managed to find most of the tools I need. When I couldn’t, the app somehow managed to appear at a later date. As Android captures more of the market, the financial incentive for developers to write apps for Android increases. We will see far more apps for the G1 in the near future.

Even though there are fewer apps for Android than iPhone, there are still an incredible array of apps. After two months, I’ve found everything I need. I’ve even found things that I didn’t know I needed until after I’d installed them.

Do I recommend the G1 to people who are interested in a smart-phone? Absolutely. As the Android operating system matures and is used on newer hardware platforms, a strong contender will simply become stronger. Although I still like my BlackBerry, the person I gave it to is simply envious of the G1 that replaced it. Even my wife, a dedicated Luddite, is thinking about swapping her BlackBerry for a G2.

Still don’t have an Android phone?  Amazon has the G1 on sale for $97.99

T-Mobile G1.  My dream phone.

T-Mobile G1. My dream phone.

[Photo via Flickr]

Christopher Earle has been working as a freelance writer since 1987. He currently lives in the Denver, Colorado area with his wife, son, and their two cats. He has been a fan of open source software for many years.

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